Tuesday, September 30, 2008

They're Your Dreamgirls, They'll Make You Happy

Music legends abound in today's birthday lineup!

To honor Miss Debbie Allen (September 30, 1953) and Miss Marilyn McCoo (September 30, 1943) on their birthday, here are re-posts of two legendary clips. In the first, behold the genius that is Debbie Allen as she performs a fabulous/insane medley from Dreamgirls, featuring lots of dry ice and stunt gays -- a Debbie Allen Speciality Number if there ever was on. In the second, Miss McCoo and two rather spindly chorus boys camp and vamp their way through "Muscles," the Michael Jackson-penned Diana Ross hit.

La Ross herself pays tribute to rock and R&B pioneer Frankie Lymon (September 30, 1942 - February 27, 1968) with her perky rendition of his classic hit, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love." Then, crooner extraordinaire (and out homo) Johnny Mathis (September 30, 1934) serenades us with a selection from Guys & Dolls, and even gets in a few terpischorean turns. Finally, the magnificent Cissy Houston (September 30, 1933) -- mother of Whitney, aunt to Dionne, industry legend and singer's singer -- turns The Ronettes' "Be My Baby" into a soulful tour de force.

Pepper Hot Baby

The world's most fabulous eternal starlet, Miss Angie Dickinson (September 30, 1931)

Happy Birthday

(September 30, 1924 - August 25, 1984)

(September 30, 1921 - October 16, 2007)

Effigies 101

Art Class Models Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner and Joan Crawford

Monday, September 29, 2008

Songbird Sketches


Night of the Lupus

From handsome aspiring actor...

...to television action star...

...to Playgirl centerfold...

...to beauty guru.

It's the natural progression of Peter Lupus, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Great Scott

She may be getting some rough treatment in this poster from Too Late for Tears (1949), but rest assured, Lizabeth Scott (September 29, 1922) was a gal who could take care of herself. The publicity men at Paramount dubbed her "The Look," and for good reason:

Never catapulted to the legendary status her sultry looks and intense charisma would suggest, Scott nevertheless was a major star for the majority of her dozen or so years in Hollywood. She even put her husky tones to musical use and recorded a well-received album of torch songs.

Scott's career hit the skids when Confidential magazine implied (all too accurately) that this glamorous femme fatale preferred the company of other ladies. Scott's inglorious swan song was opposite Elvis Presley in Loving You (1957); aside from a brief appearance in the cult flick Pulp (1972), she's been off the screen ever since. Recently, however, she's re-emerged from a long seclusion to appear at tributes honoring her mentor, producer Hal Wallis, and former colleague Barbara Stanwyck; as well as several film noir festivals.

Happy Birthday, Lizabeth Scott! You've still got "The Look."

Birthday Goddesses

One is the Goddess of Gentility; one is the Goddess of Glamazons; and one is the Goddess of Guffaws. We worship them all.

(September 29, 1904 - April 6, 1906)

(September 29, 1931)

(September 29, 1942 - December 3, 1999)

Eyewear Etiquette 101

Doctor of Letters Audrey Hepburn


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekly Feature #3


C is for...COLOR.

What a tricky subject this is! In the broadest strokes possible, you can paint most men with two palettes: timorous and trendoid. The timorous sticks safely with the blandest shades of gray, blue and khaki; while the trendoid adorns himself with all colors of the rainbow (gay pride and otherwise). Somewhere in the middle, the truly confident, well-dressed gentleman employs savvy color-sense with a healthy dose of common sense.

Consideration should be paid to skin tone, eye color and hair color when choosing how to drape oneself in sartorial splendor. Play up your best features. If you are very tan, bright colors that would overpower your paler brethren will look marvelous on you. If you have high contrast features (pale skin, dark hair), you will look exceedingly sharp in stark black and white, or navy and white, combinations. If you hair and skin don't vary much in color, using similar colors in your clothing will be highly complimentary to your complexion. And if I had as resplendent a mane of silver or salt and pepper hair as, say, Anderson Cooper or our own Dray of
Vintage a' Go-Go, you can bet that I would be swathing myself in all manner of grays: dove gray, gunmetal gray, heather gray.

Color wheels and complexion charts aside, the only foolproof way to decide which colors look best on you is to try them on. For instance, I never would have guessed that green would be my color, but now I adore it: rich forest greens, emerald greens, kelly greens. And it happened quite by accident; I purchased a shantung silk sport coat which, under the lights of the boutique, seemed to be black verging on steel gray. Wearing it for the first time in daylight, however, I realized that it was a deep billiard green. In this case, it turned out to be a very happy accident indeed -- it had already been altered, so I couldn't have returned it if I wanted to. But it taught me to think outside of the box a bit, and to try colors which I may have shied away from in the past.

Having said that, one shouldn't buy various colors in shirts, sport coats, trousers, etc., just because one or the other looks well on you, otherwise you'll wind up with a vast wardrobe consisting of separate pieces which don't work together. Have a plan. When choosing any item, big or small, mentally relate it back to what's already in your wardrobe. What will you wear that sweater with? Which shirt and jacket will that new tie compliment the best? I've found that the colors which I gravitate towards, and which suit me the best, naturally fall into place with each other.

For fall, I adore greens, purples and oranges -- which sounds like an awful mish-mosh, but they all work beautifully in combination with each other, and with the basic backgrounds of navy, brown, camel and gray which make up the large part of my collection of fall trousers, suits and sport coats. And, for the most part, these are the colors that I plan around when making my fall purchases. I should also hasten to add that I use color mainly as an accent; I don't find it particularly stylish nor the least bit elegant to look as if your ensemble had been created by Crayola. My personal belief is that it takes much more imagination and wit to spruce up a well-tailored gray suit with a pumpkin-colored tie; a complimentary pocket square in, say, pumpkin and navy; and shoes which have just a hint of burnt orange to pull everything together, than it does to wear electric blue and fluorescent yellow in an attempt to be hip.

On the first truly brisk day of this season, my very casual outfit consisted of: navy trousers (with the slightest cast of purple in the navy); a pale violet Oxford shirt; a deep plum merino wool V-neck sweater; cordovan patent loafers; and topped with a 3/4 length coat in deep, deep espresso brown, lined in sheared fur. Those colors may make the timorous dresser described in the first paragraph blanch with fear, but everything combined very discreetly and very conservatively -- but with that extra "something" to lift it beyond the ordinary. That's what I mean by combining color-sense with common sense. Remember: the proper application of color should result in a harmonious whole, rather than one or two jarring, out-of-place notes. Or, worse yet, a suite played entirely off-key.

Finally, two tips: first, the easiest way to
start a wardrobe, color-wise, is around a pair of gray trousers. If the shirt, jacket, sweater, et al., won't look correct with a pair of gray flannels, skip it, unless you can afford to build several complete outfits from scratch. Second, a word about black. It has its place, and for formal wear, nothing can top it (although, a midnight blue tux is a mouthwatering proposition). Use it wisely, however; downtown hipsters notwithstanding, it can be awfully boring when used too often, or without white added to the mix. But whenever you choose black, particularly for suits or overcoats, it must be of the best quality you can possibly afford, otherwise it looks cheap. Better to opt for gray or navy, if you are on a very tight budget.




Initiales "B.B."

La Bardot
(September 28, 1934)

Ornithology 101

Headmistress Ursula Andress

Admissions Officer Tippi Hedren

Guest Professor from the College of Agricultural Studies Barbara Bates

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Good Night, Mr. Newman

We saw Paul and Joanne only once, two years ago; they were having dinner with some friends at a quiet, elegant midtown restaurant. No paparazzi, no gawking tourists, no hyper "scene"; Joanne was lovely, gracious and impeccably put together, while Mr. Newman was slightly remote, understatedly dressed -- and yet commanded complete attention. You knew Someone Very Important was in the room, even before actually seeing him. And that, of course, is the mark of a True Star.

Paul Newman
January 26, 1925 - September 26, 2008

Scenes from a Gay Marriage

Because we are self-centered, flighty creatures who think of nothing but our daily blow-outs, manicures and massages, we neglected to wish our dear Mr. Peenee and his betrothed, R-Man, a very special congratulations on their wedding day, September 25. We are aghast at our oversight, and can only imagine that R-Man was as stoically handsome as Fred MacMurray, and Peenee as hopped-up and bat-sh*t crazy as Miss Crawford, pictured above. Bless you both, darlings...your fondue set is on the way!

The Other Jayne M.

The more sophisticated of the fabulous, glamorous Meadows sisters, Jayne Meadows (September 27, 1920) made her screen debut as an MGM starlet in Undercurrent (1946). The film is notable less as Meadows' debut than as perhaps the least-known picture in the entire filmographies of its director (Vincente Minnelli) and stars (Katharine Hepburn, Robert Taylor and Robert Mitchum).

Meadows' career at MGM never progressed past featured roles, but she found her true calling in the fledgling television medium, becoming a frequent guest star on nearly every variety show, comedy series and dramatic showcase of the day, as well as a regular panelist on the popular I've Got a Secret game show. Along with such soignee types as Kitty Carlisle Hart and Arlene Francis, Jayne Meadows epitomized high-style New York sophistication for millions of TV viewers. She also became Mrs. Steve Allen, appearing with her husband many times on both his show, and others'.

Sadly, Meadows has survived her younger sister, Audrey (who passed in 1996), and lost her beloved Steve Allen in 2000. Since then, she's kept a lower profile, although she'd been appearing steadily on television right through the end of the 1990's (earning a final Emmy nomination in 1995 for the series High Society). Ms. Meadows runs her own wonderfully designed
website, and we hope that she makes a return to the screen or stage soon. Happy Birthday, Jayne Meadows!

Double D's


Open Registration...

...for Jewelry Eating 101. Classes still available.

Class Proctors Cyd Charisse and Marilyn Monroe